By Mike Elser
Having an ace starting pitcher is similar to having a franchise quarterback in football or an all-star point guard in basketball. When your team is in a rut, you need that player to step up and take the game over. Going into the 2011 season, the Phillies had four of those guys. Four starting pitchers, who regardless of how well the offense played, would give the Phillies a legitimate chance to win the game, and win they did. The starting rotation that year was only one Roy Oswalt win away from all reaching double digit wins, a feat that was last accomplished by the ’93 rotation (Schilling, Jackson, Greene, Mulholland, Rivera). It was 2011, only two years ago, but seemingly so far away from where we are today.
Heading into the 2014 season, there are two locks for the rotation barring trades. After signing a six-year, $144 million contract extension with the Phillies in July of 2012, Cole Hamels asserted himself as the rotation ace for the foreseeable future. Hamels, the now eight year veteran, is just one win shy of 100 in his career. He has been one of the most durable pitchers for the Phils …read more